Monday, November 30, 2009

The Last Time

I threw my arms around you and squeezed my eyes tight,

memorizing the strength of your arms,

the broadness of your shoulders,

the feel of your embrace...

I am safe, I am home.

I held you against me for only a second,

afraid to linger,

unable to move.

No past
, No future.

In that quiet moment, time stood still.

No breath, no sound,

save for the drumming in my chest.

This is the last time I will ever see him.

I faked a smile and forced back tears,

and watched you close the door and

walk away.

From me,

from us, from everything...

Just let him go, let him be free.

I stood in silence,

waiting for pain to overtake me.

Waiting for the tears to flood,

instead there was nothing.

Nothing but numb.

I do not live, I did not die.

I was a ghost,

unfeeling and immovable.

Irrevocably frozen.

Just breathe, don't forget to breathe.

I fell into a dreamless sleep,

and awoke with your name on my lips.

My love, my heart...

The phone rang,

I answered.

I listened to your voice,

telling me what I already knew

in every corner of my soul.

You weren't coming.

Not again, Never again.

The thing I remember most,

is the calm.

In my mind I was screaming,

but my hand did not shake.

My heart dared not beat,

for fear it would be my last.

There is no coming back from here, this is it.

And then came the pain,

and bring on the tears,

oceans full.

Never the same.


"Woods" Bon Iver

Author's Note: This one is admittedly a little dark, but I think it's pretty true to how I was feeling at the time it happened. Besides, I'm nothing if not a little over-dramatic.
No worries =) <-----see, I'm smiling now!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Story.

Here is the story of how a little boy named Malik changed my life.

I had never lived anywhere in my life besides Lincoln, NE, when I moved to Flower Mound, TX for my freshman year of college. I would be attending the University of North Texas college of Music to pursue either Vocal Performance or Music Education, I hadn’t decided yet. I needed a job, so I applied at the first daycare center I drove by in Flower Mound. Working with children has always come naturally to me. My mother has a home daycare, so I often say I’ve been working with kids since I was one. Nothing in my years of experience with children could have prepared me for Malik. Before the end of the year, I would be completely changed, not only with my intended vocation, but as a person.

On my first day at Legacy Learning Center, I was introduced to the little boy who would change my life. Malik Rashad was six years old when I met him, and was a chestnut-skinned little boy sitting at a black Dell computer, second from the left of four, at a desk in the back corner of the Schoolers’ room at Legacy. The center manager, Mr. Charles, gave me a guided tour of the building and introduced me to Malik as “Malik is Autistic. This is was he does.” I never would have guessed that this six year old boy who didn’t even turn his head as he glanced at me out the corner of his eye, would teach me not only about working with Autistic children, but about myself.

Working with Malik taught me to have unending patience. One of the struggles Autistic children face is their difficulty in communicating. There was a disconnect between what Malik would be trying to express to me, and what my brain interpreted. At first, when I would ask him simple questions and he would give nonsensical answers, I thought Malik simply didn’t understand what I was asking of him. It wasn’t until many rounds of “what’s wrong?” answered by a list of characters from Peanuts, or every dinosaur imaginable, that I learned how smart this child was. Malik understood exactly what I was asking him, but because his brain had trouble processing the emotional or spatial questions, he didn’t know how to tell me what was bothering him. Malik would retreat back to the topics that were comfortable to him, his favorite characters from Peanuts, and his favorite topic, dinosaurs.

Sometimes to get a simple answer out of Malik, I would have to listen to half an hour of what I first considered to be rambling, where Malik would try and divert my attention by asking me “Is Charlie Brown? Is Linus? Is Lucy? Is Snoopy? Is Peppermint Patty?” I learned to hold my ground and not give in to the frustration (or laughter!) building with each repetition. The patience I gained over my first year of working with Malik, surprised both he and myself. I don’t believe Malik had ever had someone be so consistent in working with him, and this helped us develop a very special connection. This patience is something I have carried with me to this day.

One of the struggles in working with Malik, was the tantrums he would throw. At first, these episodes occurred on a daily basis. The angry child seemed to explode for no reason, throwing toys or running around in circles, yelling and knocking over toys and bookshelves. Dealing with these constant outbursts made the occasional tantrum-free day seem like a great blessing. Each “normal” day was something to be celebrated, and every moment of peace was a moment to be relished. In these times of calm, I learned to appreciate the little victories. I discovered how a seemingly small triumph, such as the first time Malik’s eyes met mine, could bring such joy.

That first moment of eye contact was not just a fluke; it meant that Malik and I were making progress in our communication. Malik was finally connecting to me! The good days were celebrated, and every time Malik would go through the day without a tantrum, there was a complete shift in his attitude. Malik felt good about himself, proud even, and little victories became not so little after all. Taking joy in the small happinesses made the days go faster and made the steps backwards, the bad days, much more manageable.

Before too long, Malik and I were a team. I set up a sticker chart to reward his good behavior, and he helped me out by playing by the rules to earn his prize at the end of the week. Instead of going a day without a tantrum, there were tantrum-free weeks! By Christmas break that first year, Malik had made such progress it was hard to believe we had only started working together a few short months before. I flew home to Nebraska to spend the holidays with my family and friends. When I returned to Texas after the four weeks of winter break, I had no idea what was in store for me. Over the break, the other teachers at the center hadn’t continued my work with Malik. The boy was back to throwing tantrums almost every day, a huge step back in Malik’s progress. I had to think of new ways to get him back to the level we were at before the break. In my experimenting, I would discover a method that would impact not only Malik’s behavior, but the course of my life.

During one of Malik’s tantrums, I found myself in a panic. I didn’t know what he was trying to tell me, and he was just as frustrated as I. Over the past few weeks, he had begun not only throwing toys and yelling, but digging his nails into my arm and kicking my legs. The only thing to do in these situations was for me to physically restrain him, so he did not hurt himself or the other children. On this day, I had carried him to the front office and was rocking him back and forth trying to keep him from breaking the glass door down with his angry feet. After two hours of this, I was at my wit’s end. I didn’t know what to do to help him and I was on the verge of tears.

Without thinking, out of desperation and perhaps in subconscious prayer, I began to sing, "Amazing Grace", to Malik. As soon as he heard the familiar hymn, Malik suddenly stopped thrashing about. He automatically quieted, and laid his head down on my lap and let me scratch his back while he listened to me sing. It was the most precious moment of my life, to date. Because of our discovery, I began to research the effects music has on children with special needs. I had never heard of Musical Therapy, and now it is my intended major. I learned methods of communicating musically with Malik, and his progress resumed its original pace.

When I moved to Texas for my freshman year of college, I assumed I would miss my family, maybe date a little, meet new friends, and learn a lot about living on my own. Taking a job at a daycare center seemed natural to me, an easy way to make enough money to pay my bills, and still have time to work on my voice lessons and homework. I never would have guessed that a little six year old boy would profoundly impact my life. Malik taught me to have unending patience, to appreciate the little things, and mostly importantly, he helped me realize what I want to do with my life. I have a special spot reserved in my heart for the little boy who changed me. That year I set out to teach Malik how to communicate and grow, and he wound up teaching me.


Author's Note: Nothing I could pen or type will ever do him justice. This boy changed, and in a way that is far too complex for me to describe in this little blog, saved my life. I will be forever grateful for the blessing he was and continues to be to me.

"Amazing Grace"
"Little Wonders" Rob Thomas

Friday, November 27, 2009

Photo Finish Friday

So did anyone get trampled to death today in order to grab the last pack of 99 cent Christmas lights? Black Friday is nutzo. I did order a new laptop (!) online at like 3 in the morning though, so I guess I technically participated. Hurray! it is, a week (or so) in review, via my camera.
While browsing away at Target, I discovered a giant Christmas Tree ornament full of smaller Christmas Tree ornaments! I thought it was so fabulous, I ignored the fact that Christmas displays before Thanksgiving annoy me.
Fast forward to my little sister's 20th birthday. We had to drive to Council Bluffs, IA because she desperately wanted to see the Twilight movie...New Moon, (OMG Edward Cullen! He's so dreamy...oh wait...he's just some super skinny, pale, mediocre actor? Not impressed.) Tickets were all sold out everywhere around our city and surrounding areas, so we took a mini-roadtrip. This picture shows our frustration with the state of Iowa. In one night I locked my keys in the car, had to wait in line for an hour to sit in the 3rd row of a smelly movie theater, and we were then stranded for the night because an eerie fog descended upon the town immediately after the end credits rolled. Good times had by all, Happy Birthday, Sis, welcome to your twenties!
Which brings us to Thanksgiving. This is a picture of my favorite food of Thanksgiving,
Pumpkin Pie.
There's really nothing else to say except.....Mmmmmmmm. =)

I hope everyone had a splendid Holiday, surrounded by the ones you love, I know I did! May your weekend be filled with laughter, love, and leftovers!

This week has been a random week for me, musically. Here are some of this week's earworms.

"Human Nature" Michael Jackson
"The Morning After Dark" Timbaland ft. Nelly Furtado & ShoShy
"What I Got" Sublime (they're growing on me....kind of like this crush!)

Side note: I don't know where the whole Photo Finish Friday thing began, but I don't want to take credit for the idea. I got the idea off of one of my favorite blogs, Vodka Logic's Photo Phinish Phriday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

giving THANKS.

"When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty, my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup."
-Sam Lefkowitz

Yes, I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, but I figured if Christmas commercials can start airing before I carve my Jack-o-Lantern, I can publish my blog a couple days early. This way, maybe a few people will actually read it before slipping into their Turkey-induced comas on Thursday. In all seriousness, I am reminded daily of the many things I have been blessed with, and sometimes take for granted. Here are just a few.

I Am Thankful For [in no particular order]:

  • John 3:16
  • My electric blanket
  • The constant love and support of my family, including my closest friends, who are becoming more like family every day.
  • President Barack Obama. Love him or hate him, the man has made history, and inspired a whole generation of young people to pay attention to politics and vote!
  • Simon & Garfunkel, Billy Joel, and all of my other favorite musicians, past and present, for inspiration and soul-soothing tune-age! Where would I be without my music?
  • The health of my family & friends
  • Paying off my credit cards - debt free is the way to be, Ladies and Gents!
  • This really sweet guy I know...for making me =)
  • The men & women in the armed forces, who put themselves in harm's way so that I can live in a country where I am FREE. Words simply cannot express my admiration and thankfulness for all that you do.
  • Glee. Sure, that show is a terrible overuse of autotune, but it's fabulously campy & I love it.
  • Having a roof over my head & food on the table.
  • My successful avoidance of the dreaded death-plague that is the H1N1 virus this flu season. So far, so good. [fingers crossed]
  • Being on good terms with my ex. Once again...[fingers crossed].
  • My job...not super in love with it, but hey, I'm employed!
  • A little autistic boy named Malik, who changed my life and helped me find my calling.
  • Tauri the Taurus, for not breaking down on me yet!
  • Last but NOT least, for my READERS, whose support and comments have meant more to me over the past few months than I ever imagined they would. It's all for you, folks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Cecilia" Simon & Garfunkel
"Don't Stop Believin" Cast of Glee
"Somebody to Love" Cast of Glee
"Thank you for the Music" Abba

Legal bits: Peanuts characters are © Charles M. Schulz

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

[almost] Wordless Wednesday

He called.

The crush lives on.

"Everyday Feels Like Sunday" Of Montreal
"Bliss" Muse
photo: I'm a dork.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

a taste of my own medicine

Okay, darlings. Here's the scoop:

I have a crush, and I'm not talking about my imaginary love affair with Taye Diggs. Nope, I have a real-life, Kindergarten crush. The object of my affection? You guessed it, Nice Guy #2. Here's a little background info on His Niceness: First of all, he doesn't technically come in chronological order after Nice Guy #1. I actually met him almost a year ago, friend of a friend's friend, or something obscure like that. I remember it vividly because he had one of the strangest conversation starters...pickup lines ever. He simply walks up to me and asks, "Are you German?". Weird, right? Where do I find these guys? I mean, seriously, I'm like a magnet for the world's most random men.

Getting back to the story, I told him politely, no, I am in fact, not German, why does he ask? Why, because of my blonde hair and blue eyes, of course. (Nevermind the fact that my eyes are green...details, details.) How silly. Now, I generally think it's slightly creepy when a guy seems interested in women with the whole blonde hair/blue eyes/pale skin look...I think you see where I'm going with this. For some reason however, this guy seemed perfectly harmless, just another poor soul at the bar, using strange lines for lack of something better to say. Long story short, because he was a friend of a friend's grandmother's dog or whatever, we all ended up at the same house for after hours.

A few hours of complete normalcy ensued. At the end of the evening, my friend Renee and I both exchanged numbers with our new found friend, who was, of course, saved into my phone as "German". I'm actually pretty sure Renee never saved his number...but that's beside the point. Within a few days we were exchanging text messages and he had called me on more than one occasion, to ask me out. You have to understand something about me a year ago, folks. I was in no way looking for a relationship. I hadn't even begun to deal with my break-up, and pretty much anything that looked like a man, talked like a man, and walked like a man, was the enemy. Guys were only good for buying drinks and for the temporary boosting of my ego. I'm getting away from the topic again...apologies.

I turned him down, several times. For months it continued like this, we would go through times when I didn't hear from him at all, then he would text, we would talk for awhile, and I would come up with transparent excuses not to see him. I have no excuse for my actions, it's a mean-girl move to lead a guy on, and by never telling him I wasn't interested, that's exactly what I was doing (shame, shame on me). Once, I actually agreed to meet up with him, on what I think was supposed to be a date, but I turned it into a group thing, with a bunch of girls he didn't know. I believe there was even a night in which he ended up playing taxi driver for a bunch of my friends after a night at the piano bar. [Are you calling me a brat (or another choice word) under your breath right now? It's okay, I am too.]

As I type this, I realize just how much it boggles my mind that this man even gives me the time of day after all of the shenanigans I've pulled. Goodness, I'm a lucky girl. I blew him off for the better part of a year, and for some reason he hasn't given up on knowing me yet. He's respectful, and kind, and unbelievably patient. I just don't get it, I promise y'all, I'm not that cool.

Skipping forward, A couple of weeks ago, we reconnected while downtown celebrating another Husker victory (Go Big Red!). I was with a co-worker and we ran into him, they actually knew each other, (do you care about this?), yada yada yada... we met up with him at an after hours party. We talked all night. This guy has got to be the sweetest man I've ever met. It's the absolute best thing, to see that sparkle in his perfectly (yep, you guessed it) blue eyes, every time we speak. When I'm around him, I have a permanent grin. It makes me blush!

So what's with the title? Well here ya go. I'm currently dealing with a slight dose of my own medicine. Ever since that night a couple of weeks ago, we were in constant contact. He was quick with the pet names and compliments, and the strangest thing, I wasn't freaking out. Usually if you call me 'Babe', I'll tell you that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a small pink pig that herds sheep [movie reference]. But from his lips, I adore it. And speaking of those lips, yes we did, and yes it was the sweetest kiss in my recent memory. Crush, Crush, Crush.

Here's the issue. For the past few days I've heard nothing, which is fine. He actually hasn't responded to a couple of my text messages, which is also fine. I'm just getting antsy because I actually like this guy. He's got me kinda hooked. I'm being silly, and I know it. People get busy, and at the end of the day, If I go a week without hearing from him, I absolutely deserve it. It never bothered me in the past, in fact, I never noticed. But now that I'm back in Kindergarten, with this giggle-inducing, cheek-flushing crush, I'm over-analyzing everything. I'm nervous! Oh Goodness, what have I gotten myself into?

Now, I don't know if this is completely normal, a chronic case of bad timing, busy schedules, or just a little well deserved punishment, karma-style. All I know is, I could sure use a spoonful of sugar to go along with it. Where's Mary Poppins when you need her?


"Crush" Jennifer Paige
"A Spoonful of Sugar" Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins
"Paperweight" Schuyler Fisk and Joshua Radin [still obsessed with Mr. Radin right now]


Monday, November 16, 2009

A Thought on Dating: Why "Nice Guys" Finish Last.

Well, that was fast.

I'm sick of dating already. Too much game playing and drama, not enough that's real.

Over the past few weeks I have introduced a couple new characters into my life, both falling under the category of the elusive, "Nice Guy". Nice Guy #1 is a friend of my good friend's boyfriend. (Tracking with me?) They're one of those sickeningly happy couples who are still in the PDA, lovey-dovey, constantly-making-googly-eyes-at-each-other phase. Wanna know the crazy thing? I think they're actually going to make it. Usually I just roll my eyes and wait for reality to set in, but in this case, I think they're genuinely in love. Shocking, I know, but I digress.

So, my blissfully happy friends have been trying to set me up with Nice Guy #1 for awhile now; I've been single for long enough to get sick of being the odd person out, and well, he's just such a nice guy. While he's not exactly my "type" (if I have one), I figured I'd give it a shot. The next time we all went out for drinks, I let him buy me a gin and tonic and spent some time exchanging jokes and smiles. It was harmless enough, a little flirting, some shameless karaoke; good times had by all. He even asked for my number in a somewhat cheesy but cute way; "I'd be a fool if I didn't get your number..." Laugh if you will, but it worked, okay?

The next day I was feeling fairly optimistic, even more so when I received a phone call from him inviting me to a movie the following evening. I took this as a good sign because in my age bracket, it seems most men think it's okay to just send a text to ask me out for the first time [it's NOT]. So, after the ceremonial trying on of the contents of my closet and the hair up vs. down debate, I met this man for a movie. He barely greeted me. Okay, whatever, he was nervous, and he had arrived early and had a ticket waiting for me, so that was sweet. The situation didn't really improve from there, however. We sat semi-awkwardly next to each other during the movie and every once in awhile I would shoot a smile or a glance his way, only to find him staring at the screen with an uncomfortable look on his face. He was all fidget-y and just....well, weird. The kicker? After the movie, he didn't walk me to my car, he just gave me a strange side-hug, and left. Now, that's not very nice, is it? The movie was good, though.

Call me judgemental, but I was ready to write him off after that. There was clearly a lack of chemistry, or confidence, or something. I have discovered a new sub-division of the Nice Guy: Liquid Courage Man. The Liquid Courage Man is a nice guy who is lacking in self-confidence from years of rejection and can be witty, charming and outgoing, but only with a drink in hand. Very misleading. After a conversation with my friend Adam, in which he (lovingly) told me I was being a bitch, I decided to give him another chance. Guys get nervous, first dates can be awkward, and after all, he's such a nice guy, right?

Take 2: we met for drinks. Admittedly, not the best of ideas, but I figured I'd get him in his natural habitat and go from there. My goal was to make him feel comfortable and to see which personality was real. Unfortunately, my little experiment yielded similar results. I watched this "Nice Guy" transform from shy and quiet, into funny and confident in front of my eyes, drink by drink. The night started out with a supreme lack of eye contact, and ended with him trying (unsuccessfully) to take me home with him. Liquid Courage Man strikes again.

So what have we learned? The jury is still out on that one, but I have come to a [only semi-serious] conclusion. All of my guy friends are absolutely right. Girls do go for guys that are jerks. Wanna know why? Nice Guys can be misleading. They always leave you waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Dr. Jekyll to become Mr. Hyde. Bad Guys are predictable, in that you can always count on them to let you down. I guess in their inability to be dependable, they're actually kind of dependable. Confused yet? I know I am.


Yes, Nice Guy #1 refers to the fact that there is a Nice Guy #2. I'll tell you about him soon, I promise. Things are looking good [kinda]. =)
"Another One Bites the Dust" Queen
"Nice Guys Finish Last" Cobra Starship

photo: from Tune Remedy

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Six Word Saturday

via C. Beth at The One Minute Writer:
Describe your life in six words.

My Life is:
  • silly
  • chaotic
  • blessed
  • testing
  • under construction
"Life Ain't Always Beautiful" Gary Allen
"Santeria" Sublime
(because it's the boy's* favorite band and I'm learning to like them)

*I'll tell you about the boy later...don't wanna jinx it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

To Sir, with Love

Dear Mr. Right,

Hi, I'm Vanessa. 5'6'' in flats, long blonde hair, green eyes that like to pretend they're blue sometimes. I've been waiting for you for awhile, and I'm very excited to meet the man God has picked out especially for me. A few things you should know in the meantime;

  • I'm slightly obsessed with music. I will most likely sing, loudly, and dance around like an idiot in public with you on several occasions.
  • I sing harmony to the songs on the radio.
  • I have many irrational phobias, the worst of which include; heights, feet, textured drinking glasses, needles, and Styrofoam.
  • I have an unnatural attachment to my cell phone. I have been known to fall asleep cuddling it to my chest in lieu of a teddy bear. I'm working on it.
  • I cry during movies, a lot. Actually, I just plain cry easily. If there's a particularly touching episode of Without a Trace on, break out the Kleenex.
  • If you say Stop, I will say Hammertime. There's just no way around it.
  • I love sushi, but I don't eat red meat, pork, or [cooked] fish.
  • There is no such thing as a "short version" of one of my stories.
  • My heart is spoken for.
  • I love, love, LOVE Disney movies & movie musicals. (But oddly enough, not a big High School Musical fan, go figure.)
  • I tend to be kind of nocturnal, which leads to much infomercial-watching. Yes, I have a Sham-Wow, and no, it doesn't work the way Vince, the Sham-Wow guy, says it does.
  • I do & say some pretty sappy things sometimes, but what makes it even sappier is that I usually mean it, from the bottom of my heart.

I'll let you figure the rest out for yourself =). I'm not ready for you quite yet, but if you could start making your way over here, that would be just fabulous.



"Wondering Where You Are" Tyrone Wells
"All the Way" Frank Sinatra
"If it Kills Me" Jason Mraz
photo credit: Open Salon

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Year of the Checklist

Currently, I am working on a new blog to be launched in January 2010 called, Blonde Monologue. It's going to be a combination of a New Year's Resolution checklist and a Bucket List. For example, my list so far includes; get a tattoo (sorry Mom & Dad), Learn a foreign language, date someone who isn't my "type", etc. I'll take any suggestions I can get, be they adventurous, realistic, or just plain silly. E-mail any thoughts or ideas, or feel free to comment here!

Thanks everyone!

photo credit: Neuronarrative

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fabulously [& Fashionably] Fall-ish

Fall is in full effect here in the Heartland.

I love everything about it-
Cozy layers, bold lipstick, plaid everything, checkered scarves!
My current obsessions? Black eyeliner à la Brigitte Bardot, apple red/coral lipstick, anything metallic, hot rollers (my hair is naturally pin-straight), and the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. So delicious & only 130 calories w/nonfat milk!

[above] My outfit for date-night last weekend. Yes, I'm dating again...very excited/nervous about this. Actually, I have a couple prospective beaus right now. Scandalous? Nah, just keeping my options open! I've decided that this time I'm setting my standards high, not giving as many chances. Try as I might, I don't think I'll ever be a 'one strike & you're out' girl. I'm way too interested in figuring out what makes people tick for that. I love a good people-puzzle, don't we all? But I'm working on being smarter. Not ignoring red flags or going against my instinct, which is usually right.

So, my dear reader, please join me in enjoying this wonderful season! Whether you're snuggling with your honey enjoying a movie and some festive coffee or tea, supporting your favorite college football team (Go Huskers), or going out on the town, decked in bold patterns and dramatic makeup; live it up! Before you know it, Winter will be upon us, bringing about days of snow-shoveling, toe-freezing coldness. Let's enjoy this amazing Autumn while we still can!



Song: "The Fear You Won't Fall" Joshua Radin (appropriate & Oh, so punny) =)

All photos edited using Picnik, a wonderful site for an insomniac such as I!

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